Sustainable Practices

What Baltimore Needs is to be at the forefront of sustainable practices and alternative energy production.

Both as a councilperson and as a resident, the environmental issues that are most important to me are the ones where I can most make a difference.

On a personal level, our family has embraced single-stream recycling, composting, community gardening, reusable shopping bags (generally decreasing our dependence on disposables at most levels of daily living), and we now have a hybrid vehicle.

Professionally, I have been supportive of the City’s Sustainability Plan, reducing the proliferation of disposable plastic bags and polystyrene usage, increasing the City’s tree canopy, and the creation of a separate Sustainability Fund, allowing us to direct specific revenues towards the City’s sustainable initiatives.

We all need to be working harder at reinforcing (and for some, forging) the link in between the litter in our neighborhoods and the quality of our water. From stenciling storm water grates to soliciting pro bono PR campaigns, to making the urban water system a topic of discussion in the public school curriculum, we need to educate all of our neighbors to the fact that litter on the sidewalk goes to the gutter, and then to the storm water grate, and then to the Harbor.

We need to find the funding to demolish those blighted homes that will probably never be redeveloped. There are square blocks of houses all over the City that are now mostly vacant and abandoned – most of them should be small and medium-sized greenspaces. Along with the environmental benefits in terms of storm water management and increasing the tree canopy, such a policy would also give more of our residents easier and closer access to real greenspaces. (Check out my “Community Development” page for more details.)

The City should be promoting increased usage of rooftop photovoltaic systems (PV), better known as solar panels. We have acres of flat, mostly unused, mostly un-looked-at rooftops in this City that are already soaking up sunlight all day long – why not get more of our power that way? The City’s Department of General Services is already a major innovator in taking advantage of PV opportunities with City buildings where it can; I’d like to see us doing what we can to encourage similar innovation in the commercial and residential sectors.

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